An Australian drink-driver who hit and killed a cyclist failed to call the emergency services in the aftermath of the collision. Timothy Scollary instead tried to call his sister and then sent her a series of text messages, telling her “a very good lawyer would be handy.”
The Bendigo Advertiser reports that on December 4 last year, Scollary had drunk two glasses of wine at lunch with his sister and their elderly mother before returning to Melbourne.
Driving on Fogartys Gap Road in Ravenswood South, south of Bendigo, at about 6.30pm, the former taxi driver veered to the left on a crest and hit cyclist Michael Grinter from behind.
He was said to have been travelling at between 76km/h and 87km/h in a 100km/h zone.
Scollary stopped, but at no stage called emergency services. He instead phoned his sister and sent her a series of text messages. These included: "Call me now"; "Urgent now"; "I have killed a cyclist"; and "A very good lawyer would be handy."
A few moments after that, he texted: "Real reality is the .05 level."
His sister called for an ambulance after speaking to him on the phone.
Other drivers stopped and went to Grinter’s aid. Despite the efforts of two women who performed CPR, the 65-year-old died at the scene.
Others at the scene overheard Scollary speaking on the phone and saying: "I’ll be in jail ... I've had a few."
Some asked if Scollary was okay. He said police had been called, but told one: "Fuck off, I've called my sister, he's dead."
Judge Wraight accepted Scollary would have panicked but said he was able to make a rational decision to call his sister and appeared to be more concerned for himself than for the cyclist.
"In this instance it seems inexplicable that you were aware of the fact that you had struck a cyclist and would have been well aware that he would have could be seriously injured, however you did not approach him to ascertain the situation or offer assistance," he said.
"More disturbingly, you did not immediately call triple zero for assistance and some 10 to 15 minutes passed before another person attended to Mr Grinter."
Scollary pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, failing to render assistance and failing a blood alcohol test.
He was jailed for three years and disqualified from driving for eight years.